Ornate Overdrive: Taipei Longshan Temple

 Built in 1738, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the front. Yes, that is a digital message board over the front gate.
 Stroll past that and you can see the more traditional appearances of the inner buildings and gates.
 The main building and left corridor were damaged in World War II but were faithfully rebuilt.
 The building is done in traditional Taiwanese/southern Chinese style. A large plaza just inside the gate with the message board is a popular gathering place:
 People were just hanging out here - the temple actually serves as a community space in this part of Taiwan. That is something I haven't seen in many of my travels around Japan, Korea, and Taiwan - in the modern age people go to coffee shops, the mall, or just stay home.
 The temple is open to visit and pray. Head in through the gate.
 The temple itself is found further inside. There seemed to be some kind of event going on the day I arrived, as an inner courtyard had these tables set up with food (offerings to the Gods, I'm sure).
 The temple had a nice waterfall feature in one corner. It's amazing how much effort is put into Chinese architecture.
 Every small nook and cranny seems to be filled with carvings.
 The flowers in front of the temple are, again, probably to celebrate a God's birthday (as I saw at another temple) - or they could be for another purpose (funeral or wedding).
 The burning of incense is supposed to help with luck. Part of the ritual involves lighting an incense stick, and in some case inhaling the fumes to drive away bad things. Sometimes the sticks are left in urns or on graves.
 More details - a painting of some sort.
 Don't forget to look up when visiting temples in Asia.
 The roofs, just like every other surface of the building, are covered in carvings.
 And under the roofs gold and brightly-colored paint with even more tiny carvings cover every inch.
 It's just amazing to look at all this detail.
 Most imagery involves some form of dragon.
Okay, one last picture - next to the intricacy and detail and bright (gaudy) colors of the temple, this peaceful natural pond draws the eye to a simple beauty.

The temple is located across a large modern plaza from the Longsham Temple MRT station, or a 15 minute walk from the Taipei Botanical Garden. The best (and most crowded) time to visit is on the first and fifteenth day of the lunar month, when locals come to worship; the rest of the time you're more likely to see tourists and foreigners visiting inside the temple. Visit between 6 AM and 10:20 PM. Across the street is an underground market, and the whole area is good for shopping for traditional and religious souvenirs. Don't forget to check out the modern plaza area too.

No comments:

Post a Comment